We had a catastrophic server failure the other day. The server was the head to our NAS. Multiple disk shelves were attached via SAS (SFF-8088 to a HP Smart Array RAID Card). Also connected to the RAID card was a shelf of disks on the head server itself, the backplane was connected to the RAID card via SFF-8484 on both ends.

I can't get any power to the backplane and/or mother board. The power supply has been replaced and the PSU blades were tested and appeared to work in another server. However in this server I get nothing. So no power as it stands. We stuck the RAID card in another HP server (different model!) and the RAID card was recognized. The external disk shelves were then connected via 8088 and the RAIDS for the shelves were brought back up and no issue.

However, the RAID groups from the disks within the failed servers shelf, cannot be loaded from our replacement server.

We tried taking one of our new disk shelves, putting the original drives from the failed server in it (the two we care about anyways, which are backed up via DD images), and connecting it to the new NAS head via the 8088 connection. No dice. It sees the shelf and the drives, but it's all different porting and whatnot.

My thinking is, well we don't have a replacement backplane/mobo. If I could just get the drives to be seen at the right port number on the RAID card (the 8484 port) at the correct bays (bay 1 and bay 2, or whatever), the HP Smart Array will see a backplane at the correct port, and the correct disks in the correct positions within that shelf.

Through some googling I found this!


Our new disk shelf is 8087 internal to an expander card, and 8088 out the back. Obviously I cant go 8484 from the new shelfs backplane to the RAID card, however, I thought perhaps going 8088 out the back of the shelf, to 8484 on the RAID card would show the shelves/disks in the right spot!

However in the red text on the website, it indicates it's a directional cable and the 8484 portion can only be connected to the backplane, not the host.

My question is this. Can I recover this data without ordering a replacement server, using a few parts, cables and elbow grease? Does there exist a cable that will connect the 8088 end to my new disk shelf, and the 8484 end to my RAID card. If so, will me theory of the correct port on the card being used and correct drive positioning in the new shelf bring the RAID back up?

Thank you for your input!

EDIT 1 - Hardware Information.

  • Failed NAS Head Server - HP DL185 (generation 5, I think? Maybe?)
  • RAID Controller SmartArray P800. , I cannot recall the specific model, I know it's HP and the software is Smart Array or whatever. Something that would of shipped with a DL185 and has atleast SFF-8088/8484 ports on it.
  • New temp shelf, SansDigital 24 bay SATA/SAS, model no. ES424X6+BS. (cannot recall model at this time).

Please let me know if you need any more info. I'm not at work right now or over the weekend so it might be a little while.

Random note, is it possible to change the port/drive positions the HP RAID controller looks at for a certain RAID group? For example the failed RAID that I can't get connected was on port "3I", at drives 1 and 2. Is it possible to change that information on an HP RAID card so that it looks for that RAID on port "2E" for example?

  • Please specify the model, generation and manufacturer of the server, as well as the RAID controller. – ewwhite Jan 2 '15 at 23:14
  • Updated the best I could at this time, @ewwhite – 0xhughes Jan 3 '15 at 0:19

For lack of better information (like the actual models of your server(s)), I'll give a generic answer.

This sounds like it could be a G5 ProLiant server... Perhaps a DL360 G5 or DL380 G5 with a Smart Array P800 RAID controller.

enter image description here

Given this, all G5 and newer HP ProLiant 300-series servers contain onboard RAID controllers. Also, disk array metadata is stored on the drives, not the controller. So you can move physical disks together and retain the data contained within. There are rules for this, though.

The disks inside the server are part of an internal "drive cage" (not "shelf"). If you moved things to a different server model, there could be an issue there.

Please fill in more details so I can provide a better answer.

  • Thanks for the input! The server is older, if I can recall correctly, I know for a fact it's an HP DL185, I can't remember if it's a G5 or something to that effect however. The drives im trying to recover where in the drive bays on the failed NAS head itself, the rest of the drives were in separate drive shelves attached via SAS (8088). I'll post some more details in an edit to my question. – 0xhughes Jan 3 '15 at 0:14
  • How many disks were in the server? How many were in the external enclosure? What operating system and RAID configurations did you have? – ewwhite Jan 3 '15 at 0:25
  • Also, what server model did you TRY to move things to? – ewwhite Jan 3 '15 at 0:33
  • There were 12 disks in the failed server, 10 in one array, 2 in the array im trying to recover. I don't spend alot of time in the data center. I believe on in the rack there was about 4-6 disk shelves totaling somewhere in the neighborhood of 48-64 disks. The original operating system was Server 2003 "Storage Edition" if I recall. The RAID groups were mostly RAID 6's if I recall. I'm not the primary administrator of this system. Unfortunately he is gone for awhile on vacation so I am trying to get my lost data back fast. Sorry for the lack of extreme familiarization! – 0xhughes Jan 3 '15 at 0:40
  • The new server is an HP, I couldn't tell you the exact model. I think I remember hearing someone say it was in the 300s. The main guy working on this got some stuff up and running, then took off and I am now trying to figure some ideas to get my data back, seeing to as it's mission critical and very hindering to not have it for the next two weeks. Eek! – 0xhughes Jan 3 '15 at 0:41

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